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  • Thumbnail for Tales of Ise, Sagabon edition
    Tales of Ise, Sagabon edition

    Published by Suminokura Soan. "Sagabon versions of Ise Monogatari (Tales of Ise), which were published in ten separate editions, allowed this tenth-century collection of poem tales to assume its place as one of the best-known Japanese classics. The book consists of 125 brief chapters, each usually centering on a poem or two, recounting courtier and various companions. At first glance it may be hard to tell that these volumes were printed with movable wooden type. The connected characters appear to be written with a brush, but close examination reveals that no more than two or three kana characters are connected. The anonymous woodblock-printed illustrations of these Ise editions are derived from hand-drawn manuscripts with limited circulation." - abridged from description by John T Carpenter.

  • Thumbnail for Covered Dish
    Covered Dish

    Mino ware, Green Oribe type. This covered dish is a product of the Mino multi-chambered or "climbing" kilns, which produced Oribe ceramics characterized by an iridescent green copper glaze and underglaze iron drawing.

  • Thumbnail for Flame Vessel
    Flame Vessel

    Pottery piece dating from circa 5000 BCE. Often referred to as a "flame" vessel due to the elaborate ornamentation on the lip.

  • Thumbnail for Kurishima Sumiko
    Kurishima Sumiko

    A top-ranking Japanese actress of the 1920s.

  • Thumbnail for Jinbaori

    This jinbaori, made of wool, is said to have been owned by Date Masamune, daimyo of Sendai. The jinbaori's purpose was originally functional, being worn over armor for protection against cold and rain. Horizontally centered on the back of this jacket of thin wool is the bamboo and sparrow crest ("mon") of the Date family embroidered in gold.

  • Thumbnail for Portrait of Kichijo-ten
    Portrait of Kichijo-ten

    Although the temple painting was created for religious worship, the full cheeks and small red lips of the subject suggest strongly feminine features.

  • Thumbnail for Crane scroll, part 4
    Crane scroll, part 4 by Koetsu, Hon'ami , Sotatsu, Tawaraya

    See Crane scroll, part 1 (soc000277)

  • Thumbnail for Heartbreak

    Recipients of ashes of the war dead were hard pressed to find solace in the thought that their beloved had the honor of dying for the Emperor.

  • Thumbnail for Bowl

    Mino ware, Nezumi Shino type.

  • Thumbnail for Oyoroi  Samurai Armor
    Oyoroi Samurai Armor

    Oyoroi (literally "great armor") was the loose-fitting defensive armor of mounted archers that was developed late in the Heian period. It is made chiefly of leather and iron bound together to form horizontal tiers.

  • Thumbnail for Embarkation Card
    Embarkation Card

    An example of an embarkation card, which everyone entering Japan must fill out.

  • Thumbnail for Minamoto Yoritomo
    Minamoto Yoritomo

    One of the earliest extant examples of formal secular portraiture. The sitter is traditionally identified as Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199), the first shogun of Japan. After the death of the retired emperor Go-Shirakawa in 1192, Yoritomo received from the court the coveted title of Seiitaishogun (Great General Who Quells the Barbarians).

  • Thumbnail for Geisha, 2
    Geisha, 2

    Andy Bernard, St Olaf student, takes some time out from shopping to get his picture taken with a geisha.

  • Thumbnail for Couple at Coffeehouse
    Couple at Coffeehouse

    A couple enjoys their morning coffee and donuts.

  • Thumbnail for Fan Painting of a Jesuit Church
    Fan Painting of a Jesuit Church by Shoshu, Kano (1551-1601)

    Although there is no consensus on which church is represented in this fan painting, most believe it to be the one on Shijobomon, due to its unusual three-story construction. This painting was among a series of sixty-one fans painted by Kano Shoshu, mounted in an album showing famous sites in and around Kyoto, of which only twenty-four paintings are thought to survive. - abridged from catalogue entry by Christine Guth.

  • Thumbnail for Oyoroi or "Great" Armor
    Oyoroi or "Great" Armor

    According to Hosokawa family tradition, this set of armor was worn in a 1358 battle in Kyoto by Hosokawa Yoriari, the founder of the family. Much of the original assemblage hat protects the body has survived: the cuirass and its pendant kusazuri (protective skirt), including the entire waidate (right side guard), and the kyubi no ita, which is suspended from the left shoulder over the chest. The two expansive osode (large upper-arm guards) are replacements dating from the sixteenth century and the sendan no ita, which would have been suspended from the right shoulder over the chest, is missing. The hoshi kabuto (star helmet) is made of narrow trapezoidal iron plates fixed with rows of neatly assembled rivets. The right-hand flap of the shikoro has lost several of its lacquered lames, a reminder of a sword blow during a fierce battle. - abridged from Shimizu, "Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture".

  • Thumbnail for Pu Yi
    Pu Yi

    Pu Yi, last of the Chinese emperors, was installed on a puppet throne in Manchuria (renamed Manchukuo) in an attempt by the Japanese to convince the world that Manchuria was independent and that an agreement between the two countries was in effect.

  • Thumbnail for Eikan-do shrine, building
    Eikan-do shrine, building

    A building at Eikan-Do shrine in Kyoto stands against a cloudy sky.

  • Thumbnail for River Shrine
    River Shrine

    On a man-made island in the middle of a small river sits several statues and pillars in honor of the river god.

  • Thumbnail for Candy Store Display
    Candy Store Display

    A display at a candy store.

  • Thumbnail for Noh Mask: Uba
    Noh Mask: Uba

    Uba, the mask of an old woman, is used primarily in Takasage, a play in which an old woman and her husband represent the spirits of two pine trees. On his way to the capital, Tomonari, a Shinto priest from he shrine of Aso in Kyushu, rests beneath the pines along the shore at Takasago in Harima Province. The old couple appear and sweep beneath the pines. They tell the priest of two aged pines, one here in Takasago and the other at Sumiyoshi in Settsu Province and of their auspicious associations. Tomonari goes to Sumiyoshi in the second half of the play, and a deity appears and performs a god dance. The Uba mask came to be also used for the roles of ordinary old women in other Noh plays. Typically, the eyes are carved as they are for the mask of a blind person. - Matshushima Ken

  • Thumbnail for Nokan Flutes and Cases for Noh Drama
    Nokan Flutes and Cases for Noh Drama

    Bamboo flute with a mouth hole and seven finger holes. The nokan is the only wind instrument among the instruments used in Noh,and functions as a rhythm instrument.

  • Thumbnail for Noh Mask: Ko-ushi
    Noh Mask: Ko-ushi

    Old man mask worn during Noh performance.

  • Thumbnail for Teahouse Floor Plan
    Teahouse Floor Plan

    A floor-plan for a typical tea-house.

  • Thumbnail for Maple Tree and Autumn Plants, Left half
    Maple Tree and Autumn Plants, Left half

    The ambiance in the maple composition is elegantly theatrical with its profusion of colors and diversity of flora, but with the distinctive admixture and reflection evoked by autumn. The flowers below, fragrant olive, cockscomb, bush clover, and chrysanthemum, complement the coloristic array of high autumn created by the individual maple leaves, some still green, some already a rich crimson, and some a desiccated yellow. The screen, with its massive trunk (85 cm across) and gnarled branches, set against a shimmering background of gold, clearly reveals Eitoku's influence in its preoccupation with dramatic visual impact and assertive brushwork. See also the right half.